The Swedish army has ordered 40 Mjolner mortar complexes with a 120 mm twin tower mortar, which are planned to be delivered by the end of 2020
The growing popularity of 120mm self-propelled mortars contributes to their rapid spread not only in Europe but also in other regions.
The Patria Hagglunds AMOS twin-barrel mortar is designed for use on medium-weight wheeled and tracked vehicles and speedboats.
BAE Systems Hagglunds has developed a 120mm double-barreled mortar Mjolner (in Norse mythology - the hammer of the god of thunder Thor), mounted on a CV90 tracked chassis. In September 2019, the first four production vehicles were officially transferred to the Swedish army. Crews from the Skaraborg Regiment immediately began training and conducted firing tests in December. The $ 68 million contract for the supply of 40 Mjolner systems was awarded in December 2016. The first four pre-production copies were delivered in February 2019 specifically for training. Deliveries will be made in batches of four vehicles every two months.
The Swedish army mechanized brigades equipped with CV90 infantry fighting vehicles currently rely on the outdated 120 Tampella Grk m / 41 1941 mm mortars, which are transported in a trailer and removed from it for firing. The Army originally intended to buy 120mm AMOS (Advanced Mortar System) mortar systems and for this project ordered 40 new CV90 hulls in 2003. However, in 2008, due to budget cuts, Sweden abandoned plans to buy AMOS, after which the hulls were sent for storage. The Swedish army conducted an analysis in 2011 that confirmed that a self-propelled 120mm mortar mounted on a CV90 platform will provide the best combination of firepower, mobility and protection, and will also reduce the time to prepare for fire and remove from a firing position compared to towed system.
The Finnish Armed Forces are armed with 18 AMOS mortar systems based on AMV 8x8 platforms
Twin muzzle-loading Mjolner mortars are served by a crew of four: the commander with the functions of the gunner, two loaders and the driver. Block weapons can rotate in the front sector 60 °, while a further increase in the angles of fire is provided by turning the machine. The loading angle of the system is from 45 ° to 85 °; after firing at a different angle, the barrel block must be brought to the loading angle. The turret houses 56 rounds of ammunition. The loader puts the shot on the receiving tray, after which the mechanical drive feeds it forward and takes it out of the fighting compartment, where the mine is aligned with the axis of the barrel bore and then falls into the gun under its own weight. The Mjolner can fire the first four mines in 6 seconds, achieve a maximum rate of fire of 16 rounds per minute and sustain a sustained rate of fire of six rounds per minute. The Mjolner complex can fire all the 120-mm high-explosive fragmentation smoke and illumination shells available to the Swedish army, as well as the Strix anti-roof mine for attack from above from Saab Dynamics.
A mortar complex with two 120-mm Mjolner barrels can fire four shells in six seconds and reach a maximum rate of fire of 16 rounds per minute
Each of the five mechanized battalions will receive eight Mjolner complexes to equip two platoons. Each weapon system will be powered by BAE Systems Hagglunds' Bv206 tracked SUV, which will carry additional ammunition. The platoon will be able to prepare and open fire in about two minutes, compared to the 10 minutes required for a platoon with Grk m / 41 mortars, and leave the position within a minute after completing the mission.
The Mjolner tower can also be installed on the AMV (Armored Modular Vehicle) 8x8 of the Finnish company Patria Vehicles or on comparable tracked or wheeled vehicles for foreign customers.
A high level of automation allows the breech-loaded AMOS double-barreled mortar to fire up to eight shells in MRSI mode (simultaneous strike of several shells; the angle of inclination of the barrel changes and all shells fired in a certain time interval arrive at the target simultaneously)
The AMOS 120mm mortar was developed by Patria Hagglunds, a joint venture between Patria Land Systems and BAE Systems Hagglunds, established in June 1996. The first was responsible for the tower, and the second actually for the mortar itself. Double-barreled 120-mm turret mortar breech-loading AMOS weighing about 3,5 tons is designed for installation on medium tracked and wheeled vehicles and speed boats.
The standard AMOS crew includes a commander, gunner, loader and driver. Various fire control systems can be installed to meet customer requirements. The high level of automation allows the AMOS complex to make the first shot 30 seconds after stopping and withdraw from the position 10 seconds after the shot. AMOS can fire the first four rounds in five seconds, fire eight rounds in MRSI mode, and maintain a sustained rate of fire of 12 rounds per minute. The turret rotates 360 °, and the vertical guidance angles range from -3 ° to + 85 °, allowing the mortar to be used for direct fire at close distances.
Patria has developed the NEMO (NEw MOrtar) Single Barrel Tower Mortar to provide a lighter and less expensive alternative to the AMOS system.
The Finnish army, after conducting extensive tests of four AMOS towers installed on AMV 8x8 vehicles, ordered 2010 standard production systems in 18. Inside the AMV hull is a 48-shot stack. The Army is willing to buy more AMOS systems if funding is available. In order to obtain a cheaper alternative to the AMOS system, Patria has developed a single-barrel smooth-bore mortar complex NEMO (NEw MOrtar) with a caliber of 120 mm. The modular design allows Patria to adapt this solution to the customer's operational needs and budget. The 1,5-ton turret can be mounted on a wide variety of tracked or wheeled platforms 6x6, as well as high-speed combat boats. At Eurosatory 2006, the turret was shown on an AMV machine, which can usually accommodate up to 60 rounds. The NEMO semi-automatic loading system allows you to get a maximum rate of fire of 10 rds / min and withstand a rate of fire of 7 rds / min. After stopping, the mortar is ready for the first shot in less than 30 seconds, and after the last shot has been fired, the machine is ready to move in less than 10 seconds.
The Patria NEMO Container mortar can be installed on flatbed trucks, for example, on the Sisu ETP E13 (pictured), and on ships for transportation and combat use.
Today there are three customers for the NEMO system. In December 2006, the Slovenian Ministry of Defense became the first customer, having bought 12 systems as part of a large order for 135 AMV machines, but for financial reasons, this number was reduced in 2012 to 30 AMV machines and not a single NEMO mortar complex was delivered. Saudi Arabia in 2009 awarded a contract for 724 LAV II 8x8 vehicles manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, including 36 vehicles equipped with a NEMO mortar. The Emirates Navy purchased eight NEMO Navy towers for installation on six Ghannatha missile boats.
At IDEX in February 2017, Patria presented its NEMO Container mortar system, which is being developed in collaboration with fleet UAE. The NEMO Container is a NEMO tower integrated into an ISO (International Standards Organization) 20ft standard container that can be transported by speedboat, ship or truck. This weapon system can fire from any of these carriers, as well as be installed at forward operating bases and other stationary objects.
The NEMO Container complex is serviced by a crew of three: two loaders and an operator-gunner, who also plays the role of commander. In the transport position, the tower is completely closed with a transport cover. The container has space for a power unit, an air conditioning unit and 100 mortar mines, which is twice the usual amount carried in an armored vehicle. Customers can specify the level of ballistic protection, it can be either steel sheets or ceramics. To absorb rollback forces, the container is equipped with a reinforced tubular structure between the inner and outer skin.
120-mm tower mortars HSW Rak can be installed on tracked and wheeled armored vehicles
At MSPO 2008, Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) showed off the Rak 120mm turret mortar, which is designed to be mounted on any suitable tracked or wheeled chassis. The system, installed on the Polish army's Rosomak chassis (licensed AMV version of the Finnish company Patria), received the designation M120K. In a breech-loading mortar, shots are fed by a rotating magazine for 20 minutes. Guidance is carried out using the Topaz LMS developed by the Polish WB Electronics, which allows the Rak platform to fire the first shot within 30 seconds after stopping.
Another 26 shots are transported in the store in the vehicle body. The all-welded turret, made of armored steel, can rotate 360 °, and a wide range of vertical guidance angles from -3 ° to 80 ° allows direct fire. In 2012, HSW showed a Rak mortar mounted on its own tracked chassis; this mobile mortar complex received the designation M120G. At the MSPO 2013 exhibition, she presented the Rak on the chassis of the Marder 1A3 armored vehicle, which gives the German manufacturer the opportunity to offer the mortar to the operators of the Marder machine.
HSW delivered 64 Rak mobile mortar complexes based on Rosomak 8x8 chassis to the Polish army and received an order for 18 more systems
In April 2016, HSW received an initial $ 260 million contract for the supply of 64 Rak mortars and 32 AWD command vehicles also based on the Rosomak platform, which is enough to equip eight so-called company fire modules (CFM). The Rak CFM module assigned to each mechanized brigade consists of eight M120K, four AWD, two AWR artillery reconnaissance vehicles, three AWA ammunition supply vehicles and an AWRU mobile workshop. The Army received its first Rak CFM in June 2017, and the eighth CFM was delivered in October 2019, when Poland placed a contract for 18 additional M120K mortars and eight AWD command vehicles, enough to equip two additional CFMs for two mechanized brigades. ...
The company firing module of the Polish army includes eight 120-mm Rak mortar complexes based on the Rosomak 8x8 platform
Through the hatch
In parallel with the tower systems, new 120-mm open-hatch mortars are also being deployed. RUAG MRO Switzerland showed at IDEX 2015 the Cobra mortar, the development of which began in 2012, and in 2016 delivered a prototype for testing to the Swiss army. The company estimated that the country's army needed 32 120-mm Cobra smoothbore mortar complexes. The mortar on a turntable weighing 1350 kg can be installed on any suitable tracked or wheeled armored personnel carrier. General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) will install the Cobra mortar on the Piranha 3+ (8x8) platform, designated Piranha 4 by the Swiss army, which will be equipped with a retractable roof over the aft compartment. In this configuration, the Cobra system will be serviced by a crew of four - driver, commander and two loaders. The Cobra complex is equipped with a computerized control system with an inertial navigation system, as well as electric drives for horizontal and vertical guidance with manual backup drives. The Cobra mortar is equipped with a device that facilitates loading, in order to reduce the fatigue of the calculation and obtain a rate of fire of 10 rounds in 62 seconds. The system can start firing and complete a firing mission in 60 seconds.
France ordered 44 mobile mortar complex Griffon MERAS under the Scorpion program
The French consortium, which includes Arquus, Nexter Systems and Thales, plans to supply about 1722 Griffon VBMR (Vehicule Blinde Multi Role) 6x6 vehicles in at least 10 variants in order to replace the French army VAB (Vehicule de TAvant Blinde) 4x4 armored personnel carriers. On December 30, 2019, Thales received a contract for the supply of 54 MERAS (Mortier Embarque Pour I'Appui au Contact) mobile systems armed with a Thales120R2M 2-mm rifled mortar on a turntable. The 2R2M mortar system, developed on its own initiative, was purchased by Italy for installation on its Freccia 8x8 machines, Malaysia (tracked ACV-19 and wheeled 8x8 AV8), Oman (modernized 6x6 VAB) and Saudi Arabia (modernized M113). The MERAS mortar installation will be equipped with the ATLAS (Automatisation des tirs et liaisons de 1'artillerie sol / sol) fire control system developed by Sagem and a semi-automatic loading system that allows a rate of fire of up to 10 rds / min. The first MERAS systems are planned to be delivered by the end of 2023, and the delivery of the remaining ones is planned for 2024-2027.
French Army Griffon MERAS 6x6 systems will be armed with Thaies 120mm 2R2M Recoiling Rifled Mortar
Swiss Army plans to order 32 RUAG Defense Cobra smoothbore mortar complexes and install them on Piranha 3+ armored vehicles
The Turkish company Aselsan presented its 120-mm mortar system Alkar, originally designated AHS-120, at IDEF 2017 and less than two years later began producing it for the gendarmerie, installing it on a Vuran 4x4 mine-protected vehicle of the Navy. The Alkar turntable muzzle-loading armament system can be installed on any suitable tracked and wheeled armored combat vehicle or on the ground to guard forward operating bases, in which case it can only rely on its own batteries. The first mortars have a rifled barrel from the MKEK company, the same is used in the HY-12 towed mortar, which is in service with the Turkish ground forces, although a smooth barrel can be installed at the request of the customer. The Alkar mortar is equipped with an automatic loading system, which only needs a loader to place the mines on the loading device, and a computerized Aselsan LMS, which includes an inertial navigation system and a radar for measuring the initial speed. This mortar can also be integrated into the automated fire support system AFSAS (Aselsan Fire Support Automation System).
The Danish army ordered 15 CARDOM 10 smoothbore mortars from Elbit Systems Soltam and installed them on the new Piranha 5 (8x8) vehicles
At the end of this year, the Danish army will receive the CARDOM 10 (Computerised Autonomous Recoil Rapid Deployed Outrange Mortar) mortar complex from Elbit Systems Soltam, installed on the Piranha 5. The CARDOM system combines a 120-mm K6 smoothbore mortar and a rollback mechanism on a turntable with a computerized control system ... In March 2017, Denmark issued a contract to the Austrian division of Elbit for the supply and installation of 5 mortars on the Piranha 15 armored vehicle with an option for six more pieces. With a CARDOM mortar on board, the Piranha 5 can carry up to 40 mortar mines. The $ 16,66 million contract includes the supply and integration of mortars, spare parts, documentation, and a training kit. The CARDOM 10 / Piranha 5 complex will significantly increase the capabilities of the Danish army. The army is currently operating 120K20V6 towed mortars (Danish designation MT M / 1) purchased in 10 for fire support of the Danish contingent in Afghanistan.
At Eurosatory 2018, ST Engineering and Hirtenberger Defense Systems (HDS) signed an agreement to promote 120mm mortar systems in Europe. The companies will be promoting the ST Engineering Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System (SRAMS) mortar complex in combination with an MSA and 120mm HDS ammunition. In October 2019, the Hungarian company HDT Defense Industry Ltd bought HDS as part of state support for the modernization of the defense industry.
The first customer for the 120R2M Recoiling Rifled Mortar 2 mm mortar was the Italian army, which installed the mortar on the Freccia BMP; firing of the first unit was carried out in the fall of 2019
The Turkish gendarmerie became the first customer of the 120-mm Aselsan Alkar mortar systems, which were installed on the Vuran 4x4 mine-protected armored vehicle of the Navy
American Army plans
BAE Systems and Patria, along with other mortar manufacturers, are very closely watching the US Army's search for a new self-propelled 120-mm self-propelled system. In 2018, the US Army released a market survey to identify contractors able to design and manufacture a Mortar FIFT (Future Indirect Fire Turret) mortar tower that could be fitted to the Stryker 8x8, the Armored Multipurpose Vehicle (currently replacing the remaining tracked M113 platforms) and the next generation Next Generation Combat Vehicle, which will eventually replace the M1 Abrams tank and the M2 Bradley BMP. The army is looking for a "120mm turret that provides protection from enemy counter-battery systems and protects soldiers from explosion noise and overpressure." This turret mortar should be capable of long-range fire compared to existing Battalion Mortar System (BMS) or Recoil Mortar System-Light (RMS-L) systems. The 120-mm mortar Mortar FIFT should be capable of firing in MRSI mode ("Flurry of fire" - firing mode when several shells fired from one gun at different angles reach the target simultaneously), fire at targets with direct fire and allow the integration of the latest systems. for example, loitering ammunition LMAMS or SMAMS ".
The Patria NEMO tower mortar was shown at Fort Benning on September 11, 2019 as part of the American Army's technology test for the Mortar Future Indirect Fire Turret advanced tower mortar program.
The FIFT platform, which can be inhabited or uninhabited, must have a high level of automation, allowing it to perform a firing mission within 60 seconds after receiving an order, including on the move, and have a minimum rate of fire of 6 shots within 4 seconds in MRSI mode and a maximum of 12 shots. The system must provide a maximum rate of fire of at least 16 rounds in the first minute and then maintain a rate of 6 rounds / min for a long time (the minimum requirement). It is desirable that the system provides a maximum rate of fire of 24 rds / min for two minutes and a sustained rate of fire of 12 rds / min (target requirement). " The minimum firing range is set to at least 8000 meters, and the target range is 20000 meters.